The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recently published a research report surveying almost 60% of ASX 200 companies about their policies on addressing workplace sexual harassment. The report revealed that while companies are taking steps to address this serious issue, there is much room for improvement.
Only 60% of companies surveyed require company managers to be trained on good governance and responding to instances of sexual harassment. Furthermore, less than 20% of respondents require company directors to undertake this same training. This shows a critical gap in workplace supervisors’ awareness and ability to create safe and inclusive cultures at work. In turn, this means that many companies have reactive policies to respond to sexual harassment after the fact, rather than implementing proactive measures to prevent it in the first place.
A further issue is that only two-thirds of companies surveyed have a procedure in place for identifying risk factors relating to sexual harassment, and less than one-third publicly report information regarding sexual harassment. This creates a lack of transparency around the standards of behaviour that are acceptable at work and what is actually occurring in practice in these companies.
The AHRC’s report also includes eight recommendations for companies to improve their policies targeting workplace sexual harassment. These include measures such as setting gender diversity targets, providing employees with greater incentives to undertake further training to address sexual harassment and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.
If you have any concerns about how you have been treated at work or would like to learn more about your rights, please do not hesitate to call us on 8917 8700.